The Queensland character is a literary and political devise. But did it really exist? I argue that putting aside groups of ‘characters’ that happen to live in Queensland, the Queensland character is an imagining of society where the history is very different. The key point is that the ‘Queensland character’ is not the ‘character’ of philosophical traditions, but has evolved, as elsewhere, into an excuse for character deficiencies.
I am exploring the subject in a new book with the working title of ‘Horizon Worldviews in Queensland: Re-Imaging the Society Beyond the ‘Queensland Character’. I am making the drafting process open as a series of post on one of my blogs, ‘Was There Ever A Queensland Character?’ This site houses selected extracts of the drafting, as follows:
Even among Queensland historians the opportunity to rigorously examine the thinking behind the commonly used phase ‘Queensland character’ has never before been taken up. It is not that Queensland historians have not alluded to the use of the phrase. The much more common usage among historians and other scholars is in reference to the material construct known as the ‘the Queenslander’. The discussion of the allegedly uniquely-designed Queensland house spins around on the idea of ‘character’, and more precisely ‘heritage character’ and value. Social historians have frequently used the phrase in other ways. The idea of ‘Queensland character’ has two other major applications, in references to folklore and to literature more broadly, to the characterisation of Queensland regions in short stories, essays, poems, and novels. In this latter case, the literary function of the ‘Queensland character’ crept into the common Australian historiography. The history of Queensland was defined by a personable character.